Despite lots of laws and campaign, people's perceptions on sexual harassment are still wrong in our country and a huge part of our total population is ignorant of its laws, leading to an increase in gender based violence. About 84% of women in Bangladesh are constantly being sexually harassed on the road, in vehicles, in educational institutions, at work, and even at home.
In this context and the occasion of 'Sexual Harassment Awareness Month' - ACTIONISTS organized its 17th episode of the “Dialogue for Action” series on 29th April, 2021. The topic of this webinar was "Prevention of Sexual Harassment in Bangladesh: Socio-legal Perspectives".
The invited speakers were respectively SK Jenefa K Jabbar, Director of Human Rights and Legal Aid Services (HRLS), Social Compliance and Safeguarding at BRAC; Taslima Yasmin, Associate Professor at Department of Law, University of Dhaka and Najmul Islam, ADC of Cyber Crime Investigation Division, CTTC, DMP. The program was hosted by Mohammad Golam Sarwar, Assistant Professor of Law, University of Dhaka and Coordinated by A.N.M. Fakhrul Amin Forhad, Founder of ACTIONISTS.
According to the Supreme Court's 2009 definition of "sexual harassment", unwanted sexually explicit behavior (directly or in gestures), displaying pornography, sexually explicit comments or gestures, indecent gestures, sexual harassment or comments, stalking or stalking someone. Going and mocking or ridiculing using sexually suggestive language will also fall into sexual harassment.
Jenefa Jabbar says, “It is difficult to find a number of ladies in our country who have not been sexually harassed in her lifetime. Most cases, harassment and abuses begins at home, family by any family member or relatives. Abuse can happen anywhere, also in online platforms. Malicious activities in social media has increased.”
Taslima Yasmin speaks about laws regarding this sexual abuse issue,mentioning. “ though there are laws about women and gender violence in our country, the term of sexual harassment is sitll vague. There is a prominent discrimination in labour sector with women, but labour laws could not reflect enough concern about this issue of sexual abuse. And while the making and implementing policies the terms and conditions of the victim society should be brought in spotlight.”
ADC Nazmul says, “I receive around 15-20 complains of sexual abuse every day, and most of them are cyber crimes. Every social media user needs to be conscious about this risk. You must not click on any fishy link, or any unauthentic website. We all need to know the privacy policies of the app we use and use two-factor authentication system. If anyone faces such problem, they must not delay in informing the legal cell.”
ACTIONISTS is a youth-based organization that has long been involved in raising awareness through social media through the Action for Dialogue series. In addition to social awareness, various activities to establish the rights of disadvantaged people, they also provide free online mental health services.